Saturday, September 21, 2013

Snack Box

Eating whole foods/clean can be tricky at times when you need a quick snack because most of the food you eat is making it from scratch or refrigerated and spoils easily. What do you do when you have kids and you don't want to take a cooler everytime you leave the house but still keep it healthy? Here are some ideas of healthy snacks you can buy without getting a bunch of unhealthy processed junk. I decided that it is important to have more readily available snacks and it would be nice to organize them in our pantry for easy access. My goal is to keep it fairly full all of the time for the girls...well, for all of us!

These freeze-dried apples are awesome especially cauae Abby loves Mickey Mouse. 

Just applesauce and no HFCS, added sugar, or other junk.

We like Clif Bars and the crunchy ones are the best :)

dark chocolate plums without any hydrogenated oil or other unwanted chemicals. Yay!

I did not mean to get sweetened craisins but one time will be fine.

Here it is in the pantry. 

This yogurt doesn't go in the pantry but these are easy and Abigail likes them a lot. 

There you go. The only thing missing from the box is almonds, which I like to get from Whole Foods and I haven't been there yet. I would love to know other healthy snack ideas you might have so comment below if you have some! 

Abby eating a mandarin orange at the mall today while she got spoiled by a set of grandparents :)

Her and her grandpa.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Advanced Full body Workout

Want a fullbody workout that will challenge you? This is ADVANCED so beware. If you are not at a moderate level of fitness then modify each one. Well here you go. Let's get going!

Start with warming up and light STRETCHING. I personally use my foam roller, then a series of squats and moving stretches. Picking up a light set of weights is good to do as well after that. Bicep curls, tricep extensions, overhead presses and squats will get the blood pumping. Use 3-8 pounds depending on what you're used to.

Exercise #1 Tricep Push-up

Put your elbows tight to your body with your arms against your body as well. Start on your knees if you have never done one. They are pretty tough so don't fret. You will improve! Go down and up. Do as many as possible until failure. 

#2 Plank with tricep extension

Get into plank position, feet wide for good balance. Place your hand in the middle of your chest also for balance. Bring your arm up and just picture your elbow as a hinge. Lift up like pictured and hinge back to starting position. Do 10 to 12 reps with the 12th being the most you can do because you're too exhausted to do anymore! I am using 10 pounds here. 

#3 Lateral Raise

With your elbows bent and holding your weights like a hammer, lift up keeping everything at shoulder height and even. Do 10-12 reps with a heavy enough weight to fail by 12 but no less than 10. I use 12 pound weights.

Tricep Dips and Inclined Tricep Push-up

This is self-explanatory with the pictures. The farther away your feet are the tougher it is. Do as many as possible.

Leg Extension with Rowing

Spice it up with this. The band provides EXTRA resistance. Go heavy with your arms because your shoulders are strong. I am using 20 lbs each (40 lb total) in the picture. Keep your back FLAT, good form is important. Lift your leg and row with your arms simultaniously. Keep your stomach tight because you are working your whole body with this and you need a solid core to keep from injury plus work your abs. Do 12 total with 6 each leg.

Down dog Air Jacks

Start as pictured. This is pretty quick so go up and down. Keep your core rigid and don't arch your back (like I am doing in the pic). Do 15-20

Army Crawl and Superman

If you don't have a bosu don't worry! You can do both on the floor. The bosu makes this more difficult because it challenges your balance. For the army crawl pretend you are crawling under a bed so keep your booty down and bring your knee to your elbow. Rotate legs. Do 10 count each leg. For the superman lift all limbs off the floor and balance. Hold for 30 second count.


This will work your core, flexibility, and balance. So play with it and just start with getting into a regular headstand if need be. 


Finish your workout with stretching to keep from injury, tight muscles, and soreness. A flexible muscle has greater strength potential. You will not be able to continue advancing physically without injury if you do not stretch. 5-10 minutes full body stretching. 

Foam Roll

Every exercise enthusiast needs a foam roller! This has so many benefits to tight muscles, soreness, blood flow, and injuries. This is literally a deep tissue massage. If you workout all the time then you know the constant soreness that occurs....when I got a roller I was suffering from tendonitis, calf pain, and back pain. After a week most of it subsided! There is no way I could have paid for enough massages to fix all this in one week and I was at risk for injury with a couple areas so this is totally worth it. $30 is a great price. That's a 30 minute massage but at your disposal whenever you want and a one time cost! Looks like my next post is on how to use the foam roller. Now get to work!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Fat is Good and here's Why

When I originally got into personal training, 5 years ago, I thought low-fat was the best way to eat. I mean, eating fat makes you fat, right? All the butter people put butter on their rolls, the cheese and sour cream on potatoes, the fried food, too many nuts in your snacks, cooking with olive oil, it's all fat and it's making us fat! Well, my stance has changed after massive amounts of proven research over the last few years.

So what's the deal? Should we watch our fat like a hawk and eat 20-30 grams a day? What about those carbs? Can people sustain themselves on low carb diets and low fat diets? No. Not possible long term. Not healthy long term. When the low fat diet craze took full effect in the 1990's, Americans didn't get thinner. There was no drop in cancer, diabetes, or heart disease (read here).

Now I'm not advocating a loaded baked potato or fried chicken and biscuits; don't hear what I'm NOT saying. A calorie is a calorie and if you eat too many you will gain weight, plus we know there's nothing healthy about fried food in crappy oil. But let's get back to the basics of eating real food instead of processed substitutes. It is important to look at what type of fats you're getting (read study). Are saturated fats the devil of all fats like we thought? Nope. Take a look at coconut oil, very high in saturated fat but extremely healthy for you. So let's take a look at healthy fats we should be eating plenty of. 

- Coconut Oil
-Olive Oil
- Avocados
- Walnuts
- Almonds
- Cashews
- Peanuts
- Butter
- Eggs

Things like coconut oil and olive oil contain medium chain triglycerides which are actually proven to reduce triglycerides and promote healthy cholesterol (read here). Plus an oil like coconut contains many other properties that provide a host of health benefits and the healthiest people in the world eat a diet high in coconut oil. 

Fats are very important for our bodies. Fat is important for brain health, hair growth, nail growth, skin, and it is important for our organs*. There are certain fats that are extremely unhealthy of course. Such as trans fats which don't technically make you fat, but far worse. Trans fats actually lowers your good cholesterol, which filters bad fats to your liver to be disposed, promoting heart disease, diabetes, inflammation, and makes you susceptible to weight gain. 

So what causes us to gain weight if it's not the fat? White flour, sugar, processed foods, lack of fruits and vegetables, soda, sugar substitutes and chemicals. We all see the research and hear repeatedly that these things only cause harm to our bodies and for good reasons. Our bodies are working machines that need whole foods to function properly and to THRIVE.

So next time you're afraid to eat a handful of almonds and avocado in your salad because of the fat content remember that they will actually help you maintain a healthy weight! Plus they are full of other important nutrients our bodies need. Don't be afraid to eat fat anymore :)

*ISSA Sports Nutrition Edition

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Paleo-ish Dinner

I made this awesome dinner last night and it is pretty much Paleo (have you heard of that?). I am a supporter of Paleo for the most part. I do believe that everyone is different, though, and it may not fit every person's lifestyle to be paleo. I also am not Paleo because, well, I have a husband and kids who love dairy and bread...yeah 2 problems right there. But I try to make meals more on the paleo side because it really has tons of health benefits.

I made baked chicken nuggets, glazed carrots, steamed peas, grapes, and raspberries (picked from the garden of course!).

For the carrots I got a recipe off Whole Foods Recipe App (love it)

Glazed carrots
Steam 1 pound carrots 7-10 minutes. In a skillet put 2 tbsp butter, 2 tbsp honey, 1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar on medium heat and melt together. Add carrots and cook till slightly browning. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot. YUM.

For the chicken I have a recipe I use regularly but this time I was out of butter and parmesan cheese (double whammy). So I substituted. 

Cut your chicken into pieces and dip in olive oil. Roll in Panko Italian breadcrumbs. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes. Steam peas and finish carrots while cooking. 

Enjoy a satisfying and healthy meal!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Work Those Abs While Already Working Out

Did you know that a secret to a flat belly is not just in doing specific ab exercises at the end of a workout? It is working your abs while doing other exercises. Of course you can do specific ones to target different parts of the abdominal a but it's not limited to those. Might as well get more in at once if possible! Let me show you what I mean. 

Overhead press with kneeling crunch. 

I could just stand and do overhead presses but by combining these I'm burning more calories and changing my core even more because I have 15 pound weights in my hands!

Push-up with side planks

We all know planks do a lot for the abs, not to mention push-ups. Combine them and wow!

Row with leg Extension

This is major core work. Your core is the foundation of every move, and there's a lot of moves going on here!

By combining upper and lower body you're working on your abs. Make sure you tighten your stomach for each exercise to ensure no damage to your back/core. When you tuck in your stomach you also tighten important muscles that will help you achieve a flat tummy. Happy exercising!